Redskins coach gives faint praise to QB Cousins

Jan 2, 2018 - 8:23 PM Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden offered mild praise for Kirk Cousins on Tuesday, but was quick to note that the team must entertain other options should it fail to re-sign the quarterback.

Cousins will become a free agent once the league year ends in March, with the Redskins left to decide whether applying a franchise tag for an unprecedented third time is the appropriate option. They can also use the transition tag or negotiate a long-term deal.

"When you're 7-9, it's hard to say, 'Wow, this guy really was outstanding.'" Gruden said. "... Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we're 7-9. (He) did some great things -- threw for over 4,000 yards and (27) touchdowns I believe, so I think he's a very, very good quarterback, without a doubt.

"But, as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning the division with all the injuries we had, I think he competed and did some good things."

When asked how he can plan for next season with uncertainty surrounding Cousins, Gruden admitted that the team has multiple plans in place.

"I think we have to. There's ways to plan for it. We just have to make sure we have all our ducks in a row," Gruden said. "Whether he's here or not, we have to figure out ways that we're going to make this team better.

"In order to make the team better, obviously we have to look at each individual position and target the guys we want and do the best we can to get the guys here. There's no guarantee that they're going to sign here anyway, so we still have to have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D. That's something that we have to do as an organization and be diligent and study it and make sure we're ready to go no matter what happens."

The franchise tag for Cousins would cost the Redskins $34.5 million while the transition tag is $28.8 million.

If Cousins departs, Washington's lone remaining quarterback on the roster is Colt McCoy. The 31-year-old completed 7 of 11 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown in two games this season.

"Colt McCoy has done an excellent job here," Gruden said. "I've always been comfortable with Colt."

McCoy has thrown for 5,586 yards with 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 35 career games with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Redskins.

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